‘Let's Talk' at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

Feature by Roland Gulliver | 03 Jul 2014

A perfect place to escape the madness of Edinburgh in full festival mode, the leafy Charlotte Square Gardens – home of the Edinburgh International Book Festival – offers a peaceful green space to relax, take a breath and decide what event to see next. Each year a bustling tented village is created replete with bookshops, cafés, bars and plenty of green space to lounge around with friends and a glass of whatever takes your fancy. It’s also right in the heart of the city, just off the West End of Princes Street.

The Book Festival doesn’t just put on the popular Jura Unbound late evening entertainment – details of which you’ll find on the following pages – it also has hundreds of author events and activities to broaden your understanding of the world, spark debate and make you laugh and think. Whether you’re attracted to hearing about the disappearing art of letter writing, or the power of the spoken word, or taking part in dialogues on the future of Scotland, the Edinburgh International Book Festival can oblige. Internationally-renowned writers from around the world will discuss such topics as war, the Commonwealth, economic migration, society, identity, culture and the media.

The diversity of authors appearing in events is always surprising and often people can discover their next ‘favourite’ read, something they would never have otherwise discovered. Have a look at the debut fiction on the Book Festival’s First Book Award list for just some of the emerging talent this year. Names you will be familiar with include such literary stars as Games of Thrones creator George RR Martin, Japan’s literary heavyweight Haruki Murakami, who makes his first trip to Edinburgh, Martin Amis, who launches his new novel, Will Self, Amy Bloom, Willy Vlautin, Alan Warner, Esther Freud, John Lanchester, Kevin Eldon, Christopher Brookmyre, Gruff Rhys, Ali Smith. The list goes on… and on.

On Saturday 16 August, the hipster world of spoken word is in evidence with Babble On, multiple events with celebrated live performance artists, staged in partnership with rambunctious poet Luke Wright and produced by Becky Fincham. It features Phill Jupitus as Porky the Poet, Elvis McGonagall, Hollie McNish and Hannah Silva, interactive theatre makers Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe and poets William Letford and Rachel McCrum amongst others. Leading writers and thinkers from a variety of political perspectives sketch out their vision of Scotland after the referendum in a strand of events entitled Scotland’s Future, and a series of Dialogues offers audiences a range of topics to chew over including surveillance and the self, fracking and ageing.

Full details of the programme can be found online at www.edbookfest.co.uk. To book tickets, visit the website or call 0845 373 5888